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Full text of "Mathura A District Memoir"

CONNECTION OF KB1SHNA WITH CHRIST,                                  67
fairly consider the legend as above sketched^ and allow for a slight element of
the grotesque and that tendency to exaggerate which Is inalienable from
Oriental imagination, we shall find nothing incongruous with the primary idea
of a beneficent divinity manifested in the flesh in order io deliver the world
from oppression and restore the practice of true religion. Even as regards the
greatest stumbling-block, viz., the * Panchadyaya,' or five chapters of the Bh&ga-
vat, which describe Krishna's amours with the Gopis, the language is
scarcely, if at all, more glowing and impassioned than that employed in * the
song of songs, which is Solomon's ;' and if theologians maintain that the latter
must be mystical because inspired, how can a similar defence be denied to the
Hindu philosopher-? As to those wayward caprices of the child-god, for which
no adequate explanation can be assigned, the Brahman, without any deroga-
tion from his intellect, may regard them as the sport of the Almighty, the
mysterious dealings of an inscrutable Providence, styled in Sanskrit termino-
logy mtfj/dj and in the language of Holy Ghurch &®pienti®'~~>$apientia ludens
&inni t&nipore^ ludens in orbe terrarum.
Attempts have also been made to establish a definite and immediate
connection between the Hindu narrative and at least the earlier chapters of
Ss Matthew's Gtospel. But I think without success. There is an obvious simi-
larity of sound between the names" Christ and Krishna ; Herod's massacre of
the innocents may be compared with the massacre of the children of Mathur&
by Kama; the flight into Egypt with the flight to Gokul; as Christ had a
forerunner of supernatural birth in the person of S. John the Baptist, so had
Krishna in Balar&ra 3 and as the infant Saviour was cradled in a manger and
first worshipped by shepherds, though descended from the royal house of
JadaJ^ so Krislmaj though a near kinsman of the reigning prince, was brought
up amongst cattle aad first manifested his divinity to herdsmen.*16 The infer-
ence drawn from these coincidences is corroborated by an ecclesiastical tradi-
tion that the Gospel which S. Thomas the Apostle brought with him to India
* Hindu pictures of the infant Krishna in the arms of his foster-mother Jasoda, with a
glory encircling the heads both of mother and child and a background of Oriental scenery,
might often pass for Indian representations of Christ aod the Madonna. Professor Webes
has written at great length to argue a connection between them. But few scenes (as remarked
by Dr. Kajcndralala Mitra) conld be more natoral or indigenous In any country than that of a
woman nnrsing a child, and in delineating it in one country it is all but utterly impossible to
design something which would not occur to other artists in other parts of the world. The
relation oioriginal and copy in such case can be inferred only from the details, the technical
treatment, general arrangement and style of £»cntion; and in these respects there is no simi-
larity between the Hindu painting and the Byzsntine Madonna Quoted by Piofeeflor Weber-